Former South African President Nelson Mandela is making "steady improvement" under treatment for pneumonia and doctors say he is much better now than when he was admitted to hospital a week ago, the government said this morning.
"His doctors say he continues to respond satisfactorily to treatment and is much better now than when he was admitted to hospital on the 27th of March 2013," the statement said.
Doctors had drained excess fluid from Mandela's lungs and he was breathing without difficulty, the government said in an earlier bulletin on Saturday.
He was in hospital briefly in early March for a check-up and was hospitalized in December for nearly three weeks with a lung infection and after surgery to remove gallstones.
Mandela stepped down as president in 1999 and has not been politically active for a decade. But he is still revered at home and abroad for leading the struggle against apartheid rule and then championing racial reconciliation while in office.
Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner. He spent 27 years in prison on Robben Island and in other jails for his attempts to overthrow the white-minority government.